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STEM Fair geared toward underrepresented students

image of a student doing chemistry

The first-ever Charles Morris Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Fair will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 18, in the Old Main Room of the Bone Student Center.

This inaugural fair aims to educate students about majors in the STEM fields. “We have a lot of complex problems in science right now – from medicines to clean water to renewable energy – and we need diverse opinions and ideas to solve them,” said Professor of Chemistry Lisa Szczepura, who is helping to organize the fair along with Associate Dean of Students Rick Lewis and Christa Platt of University College. “Think of it as you would an investment portfolio. You don’t want all of the same investments. It’s the same in science. If you do not have a variety of people from different backgrounds bringing new ideas, then you are doing the same science that was done 50 years ago. No one moves forward.”

The event will include networking with faculty and advisors from STEM departments and meeting with successful students from underrepresented backgrounds. “If you see someone you can relate to, who is successful in a STEM major, then you believe it can be done,” said Szczepura. “And talking with those students provides the opportunity to ask, ‘What was helpful to your success?’”

The evening will include a roundtable discussion allowing students the chance to explore a discipline.

“This is not just for students already majoring in STEM fields,” said Szczepura. “It is for any underrepresented student who might have an interest in STEM area, whether they have declared a major or not.”

Szczepura proposed the fair as an outreach project through her recently funded grant from the National Science Foundation. Named after Associate Professor of Math and Vice President Emeritus of Administrative Services Charles Morris, the fair is sponsored by My Brotha’s Keeper, My Sister’s Keeper, University College and the Department of Chemistry.

For additional information on the fair, contact Szczepura at 438-2359.

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